Helping Research Lead to Results
by Eric Kinaitis, Editor, AEF
Several years ago, the family of Christian Braemer was faced with a circumstance that many families dread. His four-year-old nephew was diagnosed with hepatoblastoma, a rare and often lethal pediatric liver cancer. Thankfully his nephew did meet a positive outcome and became cancer-free, but a different issue arose.
When investigating how to give back to the doctors that treated his nephew so that other families wouldn’t have to suffer the same ordeal, no viable pathway existed.
He looked into donating to a larger national cancer organization, but very little ends up in the hands of the researchers and no direct say over how those donated dollars would be used.
Christian then researched building a private foundation to address the cause and engage in fundraising to build awareness and funds for research efforts. However, that path was filled with a tremendous effort in time, energy and expense.
During the process he learned that in the US, Americans gave over $335 billion to their favorite charitable causes …and yet only 2% of that amount was geared toward research in science & medicine.
Recognizing this disparity, Christian’s passion became creating a way to be able to more directly fund needed research for deliverable outcomes. It was from this goal that Benefunder was born. Benefunder was created to bridge the gap between philanthropists wanting to fund research into specific fields of study and the researchers needing funding to continue their programs.
Benefunder has built a community of over 700 researchers involved in a variety of programs in health, technology, arts & humanities, environmental study and more. The research programs exist at major institutions, and span programs from basic, big breakthrough research to final-mile, proof of concept nearly ready for commercialization.
To date, Benefunder has partnered with 11 major institutions including Harvard, Stanford, Princeton, UC San Diego, and Children’s National Health System, and feature programs at over 50 other major universities. Benefunder also has access to a database that spans over 24,000 researchers across the U.S.
Research programs are well vetted, with each program having a profile detailing the research they are working on. Each program profiled is required to use funds only for the exact parameters of their profile and must provide periodic reporting on their progress.
How does a philanthropist get involved? Benefunder’s white-glove service starts with an interview, assessing their charitable interest, their giving history, and more. Benefunder creates a custom giving strategy, matches researchers and provides a proposal (at no initial cost) to the donor, featuring 10-11 research programs that match their strategy. As part of the process, philantropists can interact directly with the researchers in these programs, asking them questions, visiting their research locations, and creating a relationship should they decide to participate in the researchers program.
A donor can decide on promoting one or several projects of their choice, engaging in funding amounts and timelines that fit their interests and financial capabilities.
At American Endowment Foundation (AEF), we are pleased to offer Benefunder as a granting option to our donors. Donors can make grants* directly out of their AEF Donor Advised Fund to support research projects vetted by Benefunder.
Want to learn more about getting involved in a Benefunder program through AEF? Contact us and we’ll help you with your next steps.
*An administrative fee is charged by Benefunder for each grant made.